05/23/12 3:08 PM ET
Rangers searching for offense from catchers
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Harrison helps keep Rangers' bullpen fresh
SEATTLE -- The Rangers went into Wednesday's game with a fully rested bullpen to back up pitcher Scott Feldman. Manager Ron Washington credited Matt Harrison with that.Harrison threw 35 pitches in the first inning on Tuesday night and was in danger of a short outing. That would have been trouble after Yu Darvish pitched four innings on Monday. But Harrison responded with six scoreless innings after the first and the Rangers didn't have to tax their bullpen again. "It was huge," Washington said. "Every pitcher we have is available after Feldman." Washington even sent Harrison out for the eighth inning. Harrison was hoping to reward the manager's confidence by pitching one more scoreless inning but gave up leadoff singles to Alex Liddi and Ichiro Suzuki. That forced Washington to bring in Mike Adams, but Harrison had done enough. "Ultimately every starter wants to go deep in the game," Harrison said. "I knew I had to get deep in that game. The first inning was tough, but after that I was able to settle in and pound the strike zone. That's always big when you can save the bullpen for another day." Harrison, who is averaging just more than six innings per start, still admitted to being disappointed that he didn't get through the eighth after Washington sent him back out there. "I hate that I didn't get it done," Harrison said. "He definitely gave me the opportunity to get through another inning. Fortunately, Adams came in and shut it down. I definitely want to go seven or eight innings. They call six innings a quality start, but I don't want to be average. I want to be one of the best pitchers in the league and I want to take the ball into the eighth and ninth inning a lot." Harrison now has a 1.26 ERA in four starts at Safeco Field. That's the second lowest for any pitcher with a minimum of four starts since the park opened in 1999.
Grueling 20-day stretch reaches end for Texas
SEATTLE -- Wednesday's game with the Mariners ends the Rangers' stretch of playing 20 games in 20 days. Texas is off on Thursday before opening a six-game homestand on Friday beginning with the Blue Jays.The 20-day stretch included 13 road games and one doubleheader that was a part of the Rangers playing four games in 48 hours. "We're still standing," manager Ron Washington said. The Rangers won't go more than 10 days without an off-day until August. They play 13 games in a row from July 27 to Aug. 8, get a day off and then will have another 20-game stretch. Washington tried to get his team through this stretch by giving his regulars some time off and believes it has helped them. "No doubt about it," Washington said. "I feel like we're playing with energy again. It's a matter of getting back on track with our pitching. If we do that we'll be fine." The Rangers have three games with the Blue Jays and three with the Mariners before another off-day next Thursday. Then they have a 10-game road trip to California. They play three against the Angels, four against the Athletics and three against the Giants. That will be allow them the unusual arrangement of spending seven straight nights in San Francisco without having to travel to another city. That's where the Rangers stay when they are playing the Athletics in Oakland. "The only problem with that is you spend a lot of money," Washington said. "San Francisco is expensive."
Top prospect Profar stays hot at Double-A
SEATTLE -- Double-A Frisco infielder Jurickson Profar, the Rangers' top prospect, had a 29-game hitting streak stopped on Sunday but bounced back with a three-hit game on Monday.
The RoughRiders were off on Tuesday and Profar went into Wednesday's game at Tulsa having reached base in 40 straight games.That's the longest such streak in either the Majors or the Minor Leagues this season. The three-hit game raised his batting average to .300 for the first time this season and his .518 slugging percentage is the best on the team. Profar started the season in Double-A with just two hits in 26 at-bats. Since then he is hitting .340.
Tuesday marked the first time the Rangers have won with four hits or fewer since May 25, 2011, against the White Sox. Joe Nathan, who has retired 13 straight hitters, recorded his 10th save on Tuesday night. It's the eighth time he has had at least 10 saves in a season. Five other active pitchers have at least that many: Mariano Rivera (15), Francisco Cordero (10), Jason Isringhausen (nine), Francisco Rodriguez (eight) and Jose Valverde (eight). Rangers relievers had a 2.09 ERA going into Wednesday's game, the lowest in the Majors.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.